Day 2 – the Morning After
The next morning started off at around 6am with me waking up to the sounds of Nepali news radio and family members hustling around the house. The youngest son came to my door with dudh chiyaa (milk tea) and some biscuits. It was then that I asked him again what everybody’s names were.
Yesterday, I was actually introduced to everybody. However, after a long, sensory-overload day and hearing foreign Nepali names for the first time (coupled with my excellent hearing ability), I simply forgot them all.
The youngest son’s name is Sudarshan and his wife’s name is Anju. They have a 9-month old boy named Odjhaa. The second eldest son’s name is Bidur and he is married to Sita. Their 5 year-old daughter’s name is Bikita. The grandfather’s name is Janardan and I completely forgot the grand mother’s name. Sigh…and now the other family member’s names are alluding me as well.
Did I mention our village has two local tigers (baag) roaming around at night. That was also part of the big discussion last night along with possible rats (muusa) in my room (I didn’t actually see my friendly furry room mates). We were all advised to not walk around in the evening. I asked in broken Nepali along with grand hand gestures whether or not the tigers were big or if anyone else has seen them. My family mentioned that they were big and people have seen them, but I always wondered if they were actually “tigers” or perhaps they were leopards or some other type of cat.
Breakfast was served at 9am and to my surprise (not really) we had daal bhaat, cauliko-takarri, saag, and achaar. During that time, I decided to take the opportunity to show some personal photos that I had brought along with me to Nepal. Everybody loved seeing them as I pointed out where I lived, who my friends and family were as well as some vacation photos (and a few good ones when I was kid). We had a fun time going through the photos – their eyes brightened and oooh and ahhs came as they took a little glimpse into my world. I can only imagine what it would have been like if I had brought a video.
That brief moment really helped me feel more comfortable and settled-in with the family. I am also very sure that my Nepali family felt the same way as my initial gesture helped spark a trend. For the next couple of nights, the family and I spent hours looking over their family photos, especially from their marriage and pooja (worship) events. I pointed at people and asked who was who as well as at various things (boats, parks, mountains, etc.) and learned the Nepali words for them along the way.
The sharing of personal photos is definitely the way to go if you want to help alleviate the communication barrier. Everybody has a mom, dad, a crazy brother/sister, or good friends (even show off your beloved pets). Plus, you don’t have to know a lot of foreign words since the images will do all the talking.
I have no doubt that we’ll be in each other’s family photo albums soon.